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About the Rutgers DSW Program

The mission of the Doctorate of Social Work program is to transform seasoned social workers into leaders in the field by training them to become scholars who develop and disseminate knowledge through peer-reviewed journal articles, national and international conference presentations, teaching, supervision, and innovative digital projects.

DSW Program Goals

As a result of this program, graduates will develop and disseminate social work practice knowledge that:

  1. Examines and applies professional and ethical standards to identify and resolve complex ethical dilemmas in practice.
  2. Applies an integration of practice wisdom and multidisciplinary theoretical and empirical lenses to explicate and innovate practice with individuals, families, groups, and/or communities.
  3. Incorporates theory, research, practice, and policy to understand diversity and difference in practice and to advance social justice.

It is important to note that these goals reflect those of the School of Social Work modified to reflect the leadership training mission of the DSW program.

Weekend Residencies for Working Practitioners

Each year consists of nine onsite weekend residencies and two online residencies. The onsite residency sessions will include lectures, seminars, writing workshops, case presentations, meetings with faculty and advisors, and participation in research interest groups. Each day of a residency consists of two three-hour modules; one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Our modular approach provides the flexibility for students to learn from a multitude of faculty with a broad array of expertise and allows our faculty (drawn from across various disciplines, institutions, and nations) to focus instruction on what they do and know best.  Our instructors are deep thinkers from a variety of fields who have attained considerable influence in their areas, and thus serve as aspirational role models for experienced practitioner doctoral education.

Coursework is grounded in three integrated sequences: foundation (training in theory development and research skills), clinical practice (use and critique of clinical theories), and engaged scholarship (writing, clinical, and research proseminars). Graduation requires successful completion of 54 credits and is completed in three years. The program builds on students’ initial case studies which are completed in the first year. Formulating the case study helps students to develop critical thinking skills needed to draw on the scholarly literature and to understand case material in a new way. This becomes the foundation for developing qualitative inquiry skills and enhancing writing skills in the second year of the program. The final year culminates in a multi-media project that allows students to disseminate their work while also engaging with the greater scholarly community. These three projects make up a portfolio that is required for graduation in lieu of a traditional dissertation. Through the curriculum and assignments, the DSW doctoral degree prepares graduates to address complex practice issues using critical perspectives and nuance, and enables them to become more sophisticated practitioners, teachers, and consumers and creators of scholarship. Learn more about the portfolio projects→ 

Writing Instruction

We have designed an innovative writing-intensive curriculum that offers our students the unique opportunity to engage in guided writing and revision with experienced writing professors. Students will learn strategies for writing publishable material as they progress through the program, and professionalize and distinguish themselves through their writing. Additionally, students will create and maintain their own professional website to be interlinked with the DSW Website as both a digital ‘home’ for continued scholarship, a venue for conversation among peers, and they will get an opportunity to practice establishing a web presence, while learning critical digital literacy skills.

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